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Welcome to Wikipedia's Energy portal, your gateway to energy. This portal is aimed at giving you access to all energy related topics in all of its forms.

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Introduction

The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. As a star, the Sun is heated to high temperatures by the conversion of nuclear binding energy due to the fusion of hydrogen in its core. This energy is ultimately transferred (released) out into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.

In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.

Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field (gravitational, electric or magnetic), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature.

Mass and energy are closely related. Due to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary (called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy (in that frame of reference), and any additional energy (of any form) acquired by the object above that rest energy will increase the object's total mass just as it increases its total energy. For example, after heating an object, its increase in energy could be measured as a small increase in mass, with a sensitive enough scale.

Living organisms require available energy to stay alive, such as the energy humans get from food. Human civilization requires energy to function, which it gets from energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, or renewable energy. The processes of Earth's climate and ecosystem are driven by the radiant energy Earth receives from the sun and the geothermal energy contained within the earth.


Selected article

Natural gas, often referred to as simply 'gas', is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. Natural gas is found in oil fields, natural gas fields, and in coal beds (as coalbed methane). Before use as a fuel, natural gas undergoes extensive processing to remove almost all materials other than methane.

Natural gas is a major source of electricity generation, and particularly high efficiencies can be achieved through combining gas turbines with a steam turbine in combined cycle mode. Natural gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, producing about 30% less carbon dioxide than oil and about 45% less than coal, per unit of energy released. It is also expected that natural gas reserves will peak around 2030, some 20 years after peak oil production. Compressed natural gas is also used as a cleaner alternative to other automobile fuels such as gasoline (petrol) and diesel. Natural gas is also used domestically for cooking and for central heating.

The major difficulty in the use of natural gas is transportation and storage because of its low density. Pipeline transport is economical, but is impractical across oceans. Liquefied natural gas can be shipped in LNG carriers, however the required liquefaction facilities add to the cost. The practice of flaring gas released in the course of recovering petroleum, so adding to greenhouse gas emissions, is now illegal in many countries. Read more...


Selected picture

Coal power plant Datteln 2 Crop1.png

Photo credit: From an image by Arnold Paul
Coal-fired power stations transform chemical energy into 36%-48% electricity and 52%-64% waste heat.


Did you know?

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  • Saudi Aramco is the largest oil corporation in the world and the world's largest in terms of proven crude oil reserves and production?

Selected biography

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John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was a controversial American industrialist who revolutionized the oil industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. He is often regarded as the richest person in history.

Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and ran it until he retired in the late 1890s. He continued to retain his stock and his title as president until 1911, when the company was broken up for carrying out illegal monopoly practices. The new companies formed included the predecessors of Conoco, Amoco, Chevron, Esso, Mobil and Sohio. Rockefeller, who had rarely sold shares, owned stock in all of them. As gasoline had grown in importance his wealth had soared and he became the world's richest man and the first billionaire.

Rockefeller's fortune was used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy with foundations that had a major impact on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and was instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. At his death, at the age of 98, Rockefeller's remaining fortune was estimated at $1.4 billion. As a percentage of the United States economy, no other American fortune has ever come close. Read more...


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Quotations

  • "For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy." – Richard Feynman
  • "The energy produced by breaking down the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformations of these atoms is taking moonshine." – Ernest Rutherford
  • "If you take a bale of hay and tie it to the tail of a mule and then strike a match and set the bale of hay on fire, and if you then compare the energy expended shortly thereafter by the mule with the energy expended by yourself in the striking of the match, you will understand the concept of amplification." – William Shockley
  • "It is easier to split an atom than to break a prejudice." – Albert Einstein

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